Friday, September 6, 2013

Petition going to the RTA. Make your concerns known.

Transportation Riders United is petitioning the new Regional Transit Authority. As usual with online petition drives there is a form letter attached:
I want a regional transit system that provides the following: - More frequent, safer, and reliable bus service; - New rapid transit such as express buses, light rail and commuter trains; - Affordable, convenient transit from and to Metro Airport; - Better transit for seniors, people with disabilities, and others without options; and - Readily available transit information. These important improvements will not come free, but are worth the cost. I am willing to pay $20-40 a year more in taxes for more and better transit!
But there's also a text area in the form where you can make your specific requests. These could include fare-free operation. This is the text I submitted, which I'm happy to say wasn't too long for the form:
In addition to better transit for seniors, people with disabilities, and others without options, mass transit should compete directly over customers who do have other options, particularly the single-occupancy automobile. Competing against the automobile is difficult because every car owner or lessee has made a large commitment to motoring, mostly in the form of insurance payments, but with significantly much money sunk into fuel, parts, registration, etc. Going without a car, or going for a car-free lifestyle, is also a major commitment, especially in a pedestrian-cyclist-transit-hostile environment like southeastern Michigan. The automotive lifestyle, like most monopolistic phenomena, has high entry and exit costs. The lower the fare we can post, the clearer it becomes that a bus ride is cheaper than a ride in a car one already has. I'd really like to see RTA experiment with fare-free operation, at least on one line on one day. Hopefully this will lead to expansion of free service; the cost of which should be offset (probably more than offset) by the negative externalities of cars-first transportation. It should also be noted that oil and highway subsidies are making motoring artificially cheap. Be bold in asking for subsidies for transit, as the other mode of transportation is utterly shameless in its lobbying.
Visit the petition site here.

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